An open letter to first-time mamas of newborns

Dear friend,

So… you’re a new mom now. Amazing, eh? Not only do we rejoice because they are all precious, but it thrills me that you have joined the coven of motherhood. It’s a large one, to be sure—most women eventually do join, I’d imagine—but it’s still no less sacred to pass through those gates into the fields where someone will forever call you Mom. It’s no small thing.

But. Just because it is common, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. No ma’am. It’s most certainly the hardest job I’ve ever had or ever will have, and I’m going to take a stab at guessing and say that it’ll be the same for you. You’ve had a small taste of it, so you’re probably not in total disagreement.

Your wee one is so very wee, so you’ve heard advice out the wazoo from well-meaning women. And you’ve heard this, too—to enjoy it now, because they grow up so fast. It’s really, really true, they do grow up so incredibly fast (my 7-year-old should still fit in my arms, it seems), but I’m not so far away from your stage to look back and see nothing but unicorns and glitter.

In a word… Having a newborn stinks. It’s really hard to “enjoy it now.”

Now, it’s not all horrible, so don’t get me wrong. And yes, it stinks in the literal sense, too (badabing!). But I’d be lying if I said that after the birth of my first, I belonged to that school of women who couldn’t wait to be pregnant again.

I wasn’t. I was so very glad to no longer be pregnant. I couldn’t fathom having a second. I could barely understand why the hospital said it was okay to take my tiny human home; why would I want to do it again? Don’t they know how often I run out of eggs at home? Would they like to see my out of control laundry pile? Why on earth do they think I’d be a good mother?

In short—I didn’t love the early days. In the first few months of my firstborn’s life, I felt like my life was over. I wasn’t happy or joyful. I was sad. Sad to say goodbye to freedom, to living on a whim, to being who I was.

And I felt horribly guilty about that. I loved God and I loved my husband. Shouldn’t I also love my daughter?

I distinctly remember the first time I felt a flutter of love towards her. It wasn’t until she was six months old. I was changing her diaper, and she looked up at me and smiled. Our eyes met—really locked—for the first time that day. And my heart melted. It got better after that.

But before that, to be honest, all I can remember is the constant influx of diapers, saying words I had never before uttered to near strangers (reflux? swaddle? nipples?), and counting poops. And of course, no sleep for months.

I wasn’t in love.

Photo by mrgreen09

Now I know you won’t believe me, but I enjoyed newborn-hood more with subsequent children. By the birth of my third, I actually enjoyed it (though I’ll be honest and say that in my opinion, the older the kids get, the more fun they are). But yes, when my first child was a newborn, I wasn’t glowing with the love of motherhood. I was barely brushing my teeth.

This is common, I hear. “They” don’t say it often, but there are a lot of moms who’ve felt similarly. After reading books and taking classes, you expect to be excited about motherhood. And then when you’re not, it can be a serious let down. Many of us know what that’s like.

The point of this letter is simply to say I’ve been there. Plenty of women have been there. And that if you’re at all like me, it will get better. Lots better. Consider this letter a virtual hug.

A few other things:

• I found out later—way later than I should have—that I had postpartum depression. I was going through slightly more than the baby blues, but I had nothing to compare it to, so I didn’t know. I managed to cope, but not beautifully. Stuff didn’t hit the fan until I was pregnant with number two, more than two years later. Looking back, I wished I had gotten help early. If you feel like you might have postpartum, tell someone.

• Shake off all those blog posts from moms who focus on waking up before the kids. You’ll get there eventually, but right now, SLEEP. Seriously.

• Enjoy date nights while your baby is still immobile. Soon enough, your newborn will be sitting up, then crawling, and then walking. And there’s no going back. I still remember a date night when we went to dinner at 8 p.m., our newborn sweetly sleeping in her carseat next to us at the restaurant. That won’t be possible for long.

• Get some fresh air. Don’t worry about hard-core working out—just go for a walk around the block. Use that baby carrier. Being outside made a world of difference for me.

• Go easy on yourself. Really. A sink full of dishes or an undusted bookshelf does not a bad mother make. Those things can wait… Snuggle with your little one as much as you like (and no, you won’t spoil him).

• Or if you’d rather put him down in his bouncy seat so that you can do something grownup like flip through a magazine, that’s okay, too. You’re still a fantastic mom.

You’re doing amazing. Really. Your body just performed what it was made to do, and yet what it did is nothing less than a miracle. You birthed new life. You’re a superhero.

And yet if you don’t like motherhood so far, that’s okay. You’re in good company. It’ll get better.

Do you enjoy the early days?

top photo source
Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. I did not love the early days either. I loved my son. Looking at him filled me with joy. But caring for him was so endlessly difficult, and caring for myself was impossible. Because his existence DID bring me joy, it took me most of a year to realize I had PPD. Everyone says “you have no idea how hard it is,” so I just thought, wow, this is how hard it is? how does everyone else survive?

    Things have gotten increasingly better since I started attending a support group, and have learned to make self-care a top priority.

    I wish I could do it over again, knowing what I do now. At the same time, I’m glad it’s behind me. Having a two-year-old is way easier than a newborn! I can’t wait till he’s a teenager!

    • p.s. Tsh, I discovered your blog in the early days, blog-surfing while nursing non-stop, and it was a great inspiration for me as I struggled to regain my sense of self.

  2. I just had my third baby. A total surprise, as I screwed up my birth control months earlier and as I felt I wasy safe again, Boom, Im pregnant. My oldest is 10, my second is 5 and now a newborn.. I was upset and saddened by my third pregnancy. I did NOT want another baby, I kept it quiet, told very few and wasnt looking forward to formula and diapers AGAIN! Now she is here, sweet and beautiful and I love her, but cant help but feel resentful toward her occasionally. Although it is no fault of her own, obviously, but I guess its something I have to work through and try not to let her feel my resentment. I must say that I had a lot of “baby” experience before I had my first, it didn’t seem so hard then. But as I have added more children, it gets increasingly difficult. Personally, the hard “period” for me is coming on quickly, it that Pre Teen hormonally charged female stage. So for those of you struggling with the newborn stage, where they seem more of a chore than a gift, enjoy those elementary years with your girls.
    Thanks for the honest take on PPD. It is enlightening to know that others dont feel glittery and joyful at first. I dont know that I ever had PPD, but I think we all feel some sort of sadness at the loss of what we were and it takes time to love who we will become. Kids change who you are usually for the better. I love my kids and would give my life for them, but it is not easy, its a lifelong career. So what ever stage you enjoy children, enjoy it tremendously!!

  3. I do enjoy the early days, at least I have in the past. It’s funny how the hardest part is different for everyone. I wonder how it will feel this time, the third time around when (like with the first) my husband will be deployed but (unlike with the first or the second) we do not live near nor will all of us pack up and travel to be near family. I don’t know if I’ll love it or just merely try to survive it – thank you so much for sharing this.

  4. i am probably one of the crazy ones, but i love the newborn stage. i think it is what keeps me having kids (pregnant with #5). now, on the other hand, i am not wild about pregnancy and i don’t get the giddy feeling that many speak of even with the kicks… they kinda hurt. i get really sick in a few different ways pregnant, and i am always more than happy for it to be over. even in having more babies, it has always been the baby that i have longed for and not the pregnant stage.

    i have kids who don’t sleep at night, who nurse on demand, who love to be held and held and held, and you know what… it is the most rewarding thing i have ever experienced. i am extremely tired all the time, as you said – getting up before the kids is virtually non-existent in my world, and sometimes i wonder what it would be like to have my body be my own again (been pregnant or nursing or both for the past 9 years straight with only a cumulative 5 months of not nursing once i had the 1st one)… but the excuse to slow down, to sit down and cuddle the softest, sweetest, most trusting person… well that is what i love and really focus on.

    i figure i have the rest of my life to sleep right? i keep telling myself, when they are teenagers i won’t be able to get them to stop sleeping!

    all that to say, i love it, but i don’t think anyone is crazy who has a hard time. as i said, i have a terribly hard time with pregnancy and i honestly don’t enjoy it – but i know that for the joy set before me it is a cross that i gladly endure. being a mom is about carrying a cross – laying down our lives for these little people who will someday be big people. wow. there is no greater honor and no harder job in all the world.

    new moms – hang in there and whether you love the baby stage like me or don’t, love pregnancy or don’t, or love any other stage or don’t… just remember that He has honored you with the gift of this precious life and all the cost is worth it in the end. you are not alone in the hard days because we all have them and it bonds us together.

  5. I’m so happy I’ve read this! I’m 7 weeks pregnant with my first, so obviously I still know nothing about how I’ll feel in 33 weeks, but I do know how I’ve felt for the last 3. I kept reading so, so much about people who the day they found out they were expecting “just fell in love”, “knew their whole lives would never be the same”, “fell on their knees crying”, or even “were overwhelmed with fear, worries, etc”.

    I was trying to get pregnant and I was happy to see that second line appear. BUT my mind still hasn’t processed any of it. I keep hearing “I should be eating better, for the baby” and while my mouth says “you’re right” my brain is screaming “what baby?!?!?”. I see my family crying happy tears and I’m happy to see their joy, but can’t feel it myself. For me, it’s like when I was in college waiting to get my grades. I’d worry about maybe getting some bad ones, or be wishful about some paper I expected a really good grade on, but until I saw it in person I wouldn’t really let myself *feel* sad/elated/anything. Well, in this case, I’ve already seen plenty of confirmation, I’ve tested a thousand times, my period has been MIA for almost two months and I have a host of symptoms and bloating to prove it, but still, my brain is not taking it in.
    I think part of it is the fear of something being wrong. Until I started trying to conceive, I thought you either got pregnant (and have a healthy pregnancy or some complications and then miscarry) or you didn’t. I had never heard of chemical pregnancies, of blighted (sp?) ova, babies who stop growing after week X, etc.
    I just hope this all starts to change soon (some people say after the first ultrasound) because this baby needs and deserves my love!

  6. This is very encouraging to me as I am due with my first child in May. It is so good to get a real perspective and to know that if I struggle those first few months it IS normal and OK. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  7. I am 6 1/2 months’ pregnant with my first, and, as I like to say, I didn’t fall in love with my husband the first time I saw him, so there’s no reason to think that will happen with my daughter! (Although I sure hope it does!)

    Thank you for the reminder that, if it doesn’t, I won’t be alone.

    • I like that, thanks! I’ll remember that one. (It was nearly 3 years before I even considered hubby as a potential date!!)

  8. I’ve always said to anyone who will listen that I’m not a newborn person. Love my babies no matter what, but felt so much more open love for them when they were sleeping through the night.

    Especially with our first, the transition was a nightmare. Nobody can prepare you for how much you feel like you’re giving up. I don’t want to say that to scare anyone, but it was a huge transition for us. My husband as well. Neither of us knew what was coming after the new-baby excitement wore off. The transition to the second babe was a breeze compared to the first. We were already in diaper stage, have to stay home because it’s nap time stage.

    People kept asking me when I was pregnant with my second if I was SO excited for him to be born? Well yes, duh. But I’m also pretty comfortable with him in here, thanks. He sleeps in there and doesn’t cry.

    Thanks for a wonderful honest post. I love my babies with the fire of a thousand suns, but nobody generally admits how hard it really is.

  9. Thank you for writing this. I was there, and didn’t realize how bad it was until I had my second child. I wish I had just told someone, “I think I may have postpartum depression,” but I had nothing to compare it to.

  10. This is great! No one ever talked to me about the “negatives” so I had unrealistic expectations after my first daughter was born. Yes, I knew it would be hard but I didn’t bond with her right away and I felt HORRIBLE. I felt like I wasn’t meant to be a mother. I was spiraling down, down, down.

    I feel like if someone would have laid it ALL out there for me, it would have been easier, knowing that feeling was common, or normal.

    Now I have two girls 🙂 and my second was totally different. Much better. And I make sure to pass the word on to expecting moms.

  11. I wish I’d had read this when my daughter first arrived. People kept asking me, “Don’t you just love being a Mom?” etc. I thought they were crazy. Or, that something was very wrong with me. My daughter is two and I still very vividly remember the misery of the early days. I did start to enjoy her more around 3 months once she began being more interactive. Now that she can walk and talk and get upstairs on her own, I am in heaven!

  12. Thank you. My son is 8weeks and more often than not I’ve felt like a bad mom because I can’t enjoy him. My recovery has been extremely slow, and its painful to see other new mamas on outings, having fun, wearing jeans… I know we’ll get there, but words that alleviate some of the guilt are treasured. Thank you.

  13. Thanks for writing this Tsh! I had the exact same experience and I for one, didn’t know any other women who felt this way. Everyone else was instantly a happy mom who had a perfect infant who slept through the night. It took me a few hard months to reach a point of almost-normalness with my first baby. Thankfully, I’ve had more babies and with each child the experience of having a newborn gets better and better! God has shown me a lot through these experiences!

  14. During my first pregnancy three years ago I loved all the attention I got from the doting ladies around me, until those first few sleepless/stressed out beyond my mind weeks. I was so angry that they’d discussed everything from swaddling to poop, but never told me what it was truly like to have a newborn. I even asked a few of them why they never told me.
    Then, recently a good friend of mine, a proud new momma of a two-month-old asked me the exact same question “Why didn’t anyone tell me what this is really like?!” I didn’t have a good answer.
    Just goes to show – we all need a letter like this one!

  15. Thanks so much for your honesty, Tsh. Before I had children of my own, a friend told me that she looked at her first tiny newborn and burst into tears because she was sure she had ruined her life. I remember looking at her in amazement, because she was just the kind of mother I knew I wanted to be. I can’t even tell you how many times those words came back to me in those early days, and being able to associate those words with such a wonderful, peaceful woman was a godsend. I’m sure this post will be a source of comfort to many.

  16. Very true. After my first baby was born, I thought about the baby showers I had, and thought, why were they celebrating? It isn’t easy, especially that first one.

  17. I also had a VERY hard time adjusting to a baby. I have had depression for years and knew that I was going to have a hard time. There were times where she was crying that I just could not handle it. There was a day when she was only a month or two old that I could not touch her. I could not stand to hear her make noise and I picked her up once and knew I couldnt hold her or else I might drop her from my over whelming desire to run away. I had to call my husband to come back from work and take care of her and then I had to wait outside for him to return while she wailed away inside. To say I didnt love her was an understatement. Part of me wished she would die of SIDS so I would not have to be a mother but would not be my fault if she died. Of course the day she slept through the night I freaked out thinking she was sick, but other times….
    I felt like a horrible mother because I didn’t feel love for my child. When she was 5 months old I had a total break down, became suicidal and was hospitalized for a month. That month break and reflection, as well as new set of medication changed everything. I connected with my daughter, did not stress as much and felt much much better.
    Now I love that little girl more than anything. I have another on the way and already it has been a battle. changing medication is never good for someone who is dependant upon them as me but I hope and aspire to have a better time with this one. It will be hard having a demanding toddler and tiny infant at the same time but I feel much better prepared.

  18. Yeah, I had the same notion and had such a horrible post birth experience where I was in the hospital for weeks that I really did not bond with the little one and I didn’t like it at all and wondered what I was getting myself into. I wish I had more support during that time to feel like it was ok to feel that way…..thanks for your post — it was a good reminder even during these “terrile twos”

  19. I’m so glad you mentioned how hard it is. It is so true! I did cherish that smitten in love sweet little snuggly newborn, BUT I was exhausted and tired and I’m okay not doing it again! LOL

  20. Yeah TOTALLY wish this was out there when I had my baby 15 months ago. I’m now recovered from the Postpartum, but beside that fact, everyone forgot how super crappy having a newborn is…. especially the first one! Thanks

  21. Thanks for your candid post, Tsh!
    I still don’t understand, after doing this Mother thing for almost 7 years now, how brand spanking new mothers are supposed to know it all, and be great at a job they have never done before. No on-the-job training, no work experience, no exams, no orientation – just jump in at the deep end! 🙂
    And you are right, it does get easier, and better, with time!

  22. THANK YOU! I have a 2 year old and a 2 month old, and the 2 month old is harder than our first one was… I needed to read this! Also, I noticed I was fully bonded with my daughter by 2 years old, I guess before I was operating on instinct plus a growing bond. I am finding it the same with my second one, but this time I know that you do grow into that bond and it takes time, but what a strong bond it is! Anyway, reading this reminded me to lean into this beautiful but intense season of life. Thanks for writing!

  23. I love this open letter! It touched me and brought tears to my eyes and made my heart ache. I’ve had the opposite experience. Ten years ago when I had my first I had the most incredible pregnancy and truly enjoyed the entire spectrum babyhood from newborn to toddler, through potty training and more. We tried and tried to have another and after what seemed like the 20th doctor told us that even if we could afford to purchase their new ski chalet they probably wouldn’t be able to get us pregnant, we gave up, and accepted that my first would be a singleton. Fast forward 8 1/2 years. Within months of my husband returning from a deployment and a military move, we were shockingly pregnant with #2. It was an awful horrible uncomfortable pregnancy. The birth (c-sect #2) was actually really wonderful.

    With #2 I can totally relate to your open letter. I completely resented the fact that my life and my body were no longer my own. We did another military move when she was 6 weeks old. I’m pretty sure between the low/depression I feel every time we move and how I was feeling about #2 I had PPD, in fact may still have. I relate to all that you say. It has gotten easier, but I’m still not where I think I should be.

    Thanks for your letter!

  24. Man oh man, if only I had read this when my own baby was born. What a world of a difference this would have made for me! Still, it’s helpful even now as we’re trying for our second. Thank you SO much for this!

  25. Thank you so much. It is one o’clock in the morning and I am sitting on my laptop while my two-month-old sleeps. I am crying. You captured my feelings perfectly. I am a first-time mom and it is so much harder than “they” ever told me it would be. I am feeling lost, but just hearing that I’m a superhero, well, that has made a small difference in my little world.

    Thank you.

  26. I loved this. Although I still have not had my first baby, about halfway done with the pregnancy. I am so glad that you just put so much out there. I keep feeling like I am not having normal feelings because I feel no bond with the baby in the womb or the excitement like so many of my friends have. I keep telling myself once the baby is here I will just fall in love with it. I loved reading this however because now I feel like even if I don’t feel that automatic connection it’s okay and I am not doing anything wrong.

  27. Thank you Veerle, its so generous of you to share your process.

  28. Wow,
    I never reply to blog posts, but this one really touched me. I’m a new mom to a pretty perfect 14 week old little girl. But the letter and most of the comments resonate with me. To the point where I was actually crying reading them. I keep seeing things that I don’t have (no family or friends around since we moved out of state 4 weeks post-partum, being stuck at the house (we have yet to get a second car bc of the move), being extremely sleep deprived etc. etc.) while at the same time knowing that a big part of it all is the way I do things (e.g. cloth diapering from day one, insisting on quality home cooked meals, getting back into an exercise routine, taking on a paleo challenge (yeah, I know)). My husband is great and VERY supportive, but someone has to bring home the bacon, so I don’t want him to get up at night (plus, I’m the boobs person…) Before reading this, I kept thinking “How stupid of me, I have the perfect child, but keep breaking down emotionally all the time”. Every now and then I have a day where I feel like myself again (like twice since she was born) but then without fail, a growth spurt or something (right now I’m suspecting the beginning of teething) will hit and it’s all out of the window again. I too keep hearing people telling me “oh enjoy those days…” and I keep thinking “heck, which planet do you live on lady, enjoy?!” And then again, there are these moments when my little girl smiles at me or when I watch her as she sleeps, and I know that I love her more than anything else in this world and that she’s the best accomplishment I’ve ever had. So, to cut it short, I guess “the early months” and I have a love-hate relationship. So good to hear that this seems to be a common thing, as I kept trying to find out what’s wrong with me. Thanks.

  29. This is EXACTLY what I needed to read today.
    Thank you. <3

  30. I’m a first time mom to be. Baby girl will be coming in three weeks. This article scared the crap out of me. Since I could remember all I’ve wanted to be was a mother. I couldn’t wait to be everything “mom.” Then I got pregnant. I wasn’t excited, I wasn’t overwhelmed with happiness. I thought something was wrong with me. I spoke to my husband and doctor about my fear of depression, both during pregnancy and after delivery. It seems that PPD is much more common than I thought and I feel a prime candidate for it. This really hurts my feelings in a way. Here I am, 26 years old and I finally get my first. And its a baby girl. And I’m afraid I’ll miss out on every little moment with her because I’ve got the blues. Now I read this article and its depressing. How will I, let alone everyone else, understand if I get PPD? Its the only thing I’ve ever really wanted.

    On a side note, sorry my post is so late. I just stumbled accross simplemom due to a search of how to make it through the last weeks of pregnancy 🙂

  31. wow you did all of this with that simple blog.. nice.. make me as your student..

  32. I just had my first baby Feb 10th and am a single mom. Today I’ve just been feeling like all I am is a milk machine. It seems he’s on my breast 24/7 and I feel like I’m becoming resentful towards him. Everyone told me that I would fall in love the first time I looked at him, but I feel like I don’t really care at all. This feeling scares me to no end. I’m already on depression medication, have been for at least 3 years now. What more can I do?

    • I know this is old but I’m really really hoping you respond bc this sounds like me. The guilt is wearing me down and he is only 2 weeks! Did this ever get better? Did you start to feel love for baby? I have moments where I think mine is the sweetest baby ever but I am hoping for that hopelessly in love feeling. I usually just feel like I made a mistake by thinking I was mature enough to handle this. And he always has a serious and disgruntled face on! Lol. I know it’s not on purpose but it’s just I never thought my baby would come out looking angry!

  33. Hi Tsh,
    I’m commenting regarding an email I’ve sent you but haven’t heard back about. Your post “Open Letter to First-time Mamas of Newborns” has been selected for publication in the Postpartum Depression category of Babble’s Best of Blogs Campaign! Please email me when you can: melinda [at] babble [dot] com.


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  35. This is amazing. Thank you.

  36. O God!!! This article describes exactly how I feel. My baby is 6 weeks old and i literally googled “mother of newborn does it get better”, and found this page. I feel love for my baby girl but the past 6 weeks have been the most miserable ever. I feel like a horrible mom and so guilty for feeling this way, but i’m just being honest.

    I guess while I was pregnant i was so focused on doing everything right to make sure she was born healthy I just did not even anticipate or prepare for what life would be like AFTER she was born! I certainly have not slept since she’s been born. I spend my nights trying to get her to sleep… she wants me to walk with her on my shoulder while rocking her up and down or else she screams down the place. I am usually doing this late at night while I am half asleep. My feet, arms, legs, back hurt… and she cries if i sit…

    Hubby sometimes sleeps through it or sometimes would be up just observing … pisses me off… Sometimes I am up from about 9pm til 5am… literally… every time she doses off i try to put her down in crib but she will start crying again…

    During the day when she’s awake she does not stay down … hates bouncer, carseat etc… cries whenever she is in them… again she wants me to walk with her and cries when i sit.

    I feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel… I know it will get better but it feels so hopeless now. I dont really have help to take care of her because everybody (hubby, mom, mom-in-law) seems to be afraid of being alone with her.. like I’m the only one who can handle her when she’s awake.

    I don’t know what to do .. i have not left the house since, except to take her to the doctor.. ok gtg.. dont want hubby to read this .. lol .. he’s hovering…. but thanks for writing this .. helps to know I am not the only one who feels this way!

  37. I had post natal depression with my first one, and really thought that it would be different with the second one. Sadly I was wrong, my son is 7 weeks and I’m actually crying as I type this.

    He has trapped wind and rarely sleeps, and wants to nurse all the time. I know it’s only the first few months that are difficult but I can’t wait for it to get better.

  38. newmaaah says:

    I’m holding my colicky 2 wk old upright n crying coz I thought I was just so horrible at this and I still can’t see the bright side. But he’s just so little and helpless and I just feel so useless. This post just helped me feel less alone. Waiting for the good bits to start. I’m tired, sleepy, sad, crying and lonely 🙁

  39. newmaaah says:

    Its the hardest thing ever!! I live overseas and really miss my family and friends right now. Probably should’ve had the baby back home. But this was my decision and I have to stick by it. :'( One day at a time..

  40. I searched and searched the internet after I had my first child, hoping to find something- anything to reassure me that what I was feeling was normal. Everything to everyone told me it was to be such a blissful experience and that was a far cry from what I was feeling for 2-3 months. When I read this, I literally started crying. For once, I realized I wasn’t crazy and that everything was going to be okay. Thank you so much for writing this. I even feel confident enough to express how I feel and talk about my experience to others without feeling guilty; who knows I may even help someone else who is in my shoes.

  41. I just feel that you described me! your experience was just the same as mine. My husband and I had our little one after 10 years of marriage. We prayed and cried and went to doctors to see what was wrong with us. Then, to make the story short, I became pregnant. It was one of the happiest moments in my life. Then, my baby was born, and I couldn’t enjoy it. I just couldn’t. I also live far from home, in another country, and it was so hard!! I had PPD–really bad, accompanied by panic attacks. It was the hardest and darker moment in my entire life. I started on medication when he was 3 months old. things got better, and when he was 6 months, I finally could enjoy him. I still remember when we look at each other one day–as it was the very first time we meet. I love him so much. He is a toddler now, and I’m doing so much better, I feel like myself again. Not everyday is perfect, but that is life. However, I cannot even fathomed the idea of having another one. I went though so much….it scares me. I always hear it will be better the second time, but what if not…. I feel bad sometimes to think like that, to feel like that. But this is where I am at this time.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It comforted me.

  42. Wow – it’s really sad that the new mommies around me are all so fake! I avoid mommy groups because I felt worse after each outing. I have a 3 month old son and I never thought being a stay-at-home was gonna suck so badly!! I had a career and a boss that loved me! Now my new boss (my lil baby) is mad at me no matter what I do, expects me every minute of every day to please him and most def. had no way of showing appreciation! I love my
    Son but as in reading your post I know I’m not alone with not being “in love” with infancy! It’s a road I probably will never travel again.

    • It is sad that some moms are so fake. I can’t even get my mom to sympathize. And she has 6 babies!! Even my sister says “I didn’t feel like my life truly started until he was born” about her son. I believe her but it really sucked to hear bc I don’t have that feeling at all. I love my baby. But sometimes I think I should give him up for adoption bc I just don’t feel good enough!

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  44. Annabelle Fitzpatrick says:

    I know this is an old post but im a new mum to an 8 week old baby boy i didnt find out i was pregnant till i was 6 months and i never stopped to thing about how id lose so much reading this has made me feel a little bit better in myself as im always worried im not good enough for him and id just like to say thank you all that ypuve wrote i feel the same and ar the minute im doing bonding sessions and have someone to talk too

  45. Thank you I really needed to hear this.

  46. Alexandra says:

    This is so much more common than people think – mostly women are ashamed to admit it. Thanks for sharing. Here’s mine:
    I am really not sure whether PPD is the cause or effect of my failure to bond with my firstborn. But I think that it is the latter. I was in awe of her. And afraid. And I was terrified that I won’t make the cut. And my first instinct when she was out was to hand her over back to the nurse and run back to the life I knew. I thought “what if I want to change my mind now”. I did not hold her as much as I wanted because everyone told me to “rest”, to “not get her used to being carried”, to “train her to use her cot” to do all sorts of things that were counterintuitive but I was so insecure. I should have demanded to do whatever I felt I should do and want to do. I was so tense. And she was so affected by my tension. At two weeks old, at the start of her colic days (which lasted forever) during a crying fit I tried to comfort her and she pushed me away! Literally. With all her might. I was shattered and certain that she felt unsafe with me and that I was inadequate. Noone was there to reassure me. Or just to keep me a little company. It was so lonely and so tough. In no time, exhaustion worked its magic and I started to go insane. The incessant crying, the lack of company, lack of support and then the anger…and guilt. It was the worst time of my life. I went into therapy when she was 3 months old (when PPD turned to psychosis). But it wasn’t until she was 8 months that I woke up one morning and saw her and felt love/joy/peace. Then it got better. Then I fell in love. Was our chemistry just wrong? Were the circumstances to blame for my mal-adjustment to my new role? Was I immature (I was 27 but that means nothing). Whatever the case I feel guilty as hell. But the bond forged after her 8th month and through to her 8th year was solid I thought. And then I got pregnant again. By chance. I was terriefied of having another. Of going through this. I did not trust myself to stay sane through it. And I was sure that the only reason I loved my 1st in teh end was because she was so fantastic, so bright and kind and generous and forgiving…how could i like another kid. Especially if it doesn’t match up to his/her big sister. And then SHE came. It was totally unexpected: instant love – the rush of love – total, absolute adoration. My bond with my first took a severe blow when the 2nd came. She was jealous. And why wouldn’t she be. She got the worst of me, then won my love for which she worked hard and then, after having me exclusively for 8 years this little thing came and love just poured out of me so effortlessly. I tried downplaying it and gave the eldest her due attention and talked to her but it was obvious to everyone where my heart was. I involuntarily glow when I am near her. And as fully aware and educated as I am I could not do anything about it. I am grateful for the experience but the guilt is terrible. Why couldn’t I have felt the same with my amazing firstborn? It sucks.

    And it is because I have lived both extremes that some things are clearer to me. It is clear to me that babies need to be loved to feel secure and the level of early attachment plays a massive role in their future emotional well-being. But that this is by no means their sole shaping force. It is also clear to me that chemistry is important. And it is not always the right match. And there is not much anyone can really do about it. And that PND is not necessarily the cause of lack of early bonding. Sometimes lack of bonding is the cause of PND. Denying your purest instincts (what you would like to do and how = having some sense of control and self-confidence) and also not having adequate support or companionship can also cause PND and lots of other factors. But whether you fall in love sooner or later or not at all, you do love your kids. You do nuorish and nurture them in any way you can. You teach and protect them. Romanticising it is not totally necessary. Functional loving is just as adequate. The only advantage of being totally inlove with a kid is that you will be likely to bond closer and be more in tune and meet emotional needs more aptly. Maybe. Anyway, Nature designed these things in a certain way for certain reasons. There is no right or wrong. You are good enough for your baby. Your baby is a part of who you are not least of all chemically. He already knows how to deal with you. He already knows how to get what he needs out of you. He is made to survive you even if you are (which most are not :)) the worst mother in the world. The fact that we keep striving to make the most out of whatever little you have is what sets us apart from other animals (who would eat the offspring they don’t “bond” with or don’t like or deem too weak…)You and I and all of us will be just fine. And our babies and children will make the most of what they have. And so it goes. Relax and enjoy those kids. At whatever stage you are most comfortable with 🙂 And if you hated newborn stage, independence of toddlerhood may be just what the doctor ordered. If not, eventually the kids will grow up and you will be free 🙂 Personally, I now appreciate newborn stage for its simplicity, toddlerhood for its exciting exploration, pre-school years for the easy compliant attitude, school years because I love watching little minds expand…suddenly I like kids (I do draw the line at teenagers though :D). Most days. When I don’t I let others take them on while I do something extraordinary like wash my hair/soak in bath, do my nails, walk, read, eat sitting down, nap, call a friend or otherwise live for me for a little. And miss them until they are back home. 🙂
    All the best to all mummies. x

  47. As a new mother to a beautiful 2 week old boy, I needed this. I had some pretty bad baby blues for the first week. I thought I had PPD but everyone says wait two weeks and then get help. And I started to feel better. The depressed feeling is gone. But I still have a sadness. It’s like I’m just bored with motherhood. Bored when he’s asleep and in over my head when he’s not. Breastfeeding hurts but I’m desperate to keep at it for the bonding experience bc I honestly don’t feel like his mother. I feel like a teenager still (I’m 22 so not quite but still young!). I’m married and me and my husband both wanted a baby. I just needed to hear this. Bc you google things like “sad after having baby” and sometimes you get things like this and sometimes you get the post about women who never should have been mothers and hated it up until the child was an adult and so sometimes I’m reassured and sometimes I wonder if I’m going to be like that awful woman! Heaven help me!

  48. Several years after this was written, I don’t have a long comment to make, just a simple Thank You.

  49. Nice post… Reality guidelines! 🙂

  50. I’m 11 days in with my First Born and I have to say reading your blog made all the guilt melt away. I thought there must be something wrong with me because I have not been enjoying much of this motherhood thing. I keep seeing all these new mums that are super excited meanwhile I’m sitting here wondering will it ever get better.

  51. Ethan Wright says:

    That’s very encouraging. Props for the article! For added reference, I encourage you to read the 7 Critical Mistakes You Need To Avoid As A Rookie Parent

  52. John MIllor says:

    John travels, ministers and teaches with his wife, Julie. God’s signs and wonders follow John & Julie wherever they minister. Every meeting, God shows up and blind eyes and deaf ears are opened, diseases & tumors disappear,barren women get pregnant , creative miracles of missing organs and bones being restored take place, cripples walk, mental illness leaves, emotions are healed and souls are saved.the Ministry’s healing anointing is so strong that many are healed while they sit in the meeting. An atmosphere of great peace, joy and freedom pervades the meetings and a fresh revelation of God’s overwhelming love for us touches can contact us via or Facebook(John Millor)God bless you as you join us.

  53. I’m a first time dad of a 3 day old, and things like this are very reassuring right now. People tell you you’ll be sleepy but in love, they don’t really portray the struggle and helplessness that occurs.
    Now my wide and I are starting to learn and gain confidence as we go, let’s just hope we don’t have too many low moments.

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